Wesley, Mary (Aline) 1912-2002
WESLEY, Mary (Aline) 1912-2002
OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born June 24, 1912, in Engfield Green, England; died December 30, 2002, in Totnes, England. Author. Wesley was a late-blooming bestselling novelist who did not published her first adult novel until she was seventy years old. Because her parents did not believe in education for girls, Wesley received no formal schooling, although she did learn to speak German, French, and Italian by following her parents during their European travels. She was married off to a baron, the second Lord Swinfen, in 1937 and during World War II worked for British intelligence deciphering code. Her marriage ended in 1944, and she remarried in 1952. When Wesley's second husband died, she had no means for supporting herself and her children, so she decided to turn to writing. Although she had published two children's books in 1969—Speaking Terms and The Sixth Seal—she had not tried anything since. After many efforts, she published a third children's book, Harnessing Peacocks, in 1983, but found even greater success with her first adult novel, Jumping the Queue (1983). Her second book, The Chamomile Lawn (1984), was an even bigger hit. Soon she found herself publishing a novel a year, adeptly blending middle-class morals with sex scenes that titillated audiences who could not believe that a septuagenarian could write such steamy prose. Her books were often set during World War II, and many of the characters belonged to royalty—something Wesley was familiar with, having been married to a baron. She wrote ten novels in all, including Not That Sort of Girl at All (1987), A Dubious Legacy (1992), and her final book, Part of the Furniture (1997). Many of Wesley's books were adapted as popular television miniseries.
OBITUARIES AND OTHER SOURCES:
Contemporary Novelists, seventh edition, St. James Press (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 231: British Novelists since 1960, Gale (Detroit, MI), 2001.
Chicago Tribune, January 1, 2003, section 1, p. 11.
Los Angeles Times, January 6, 2003, p. B9.
New York Times, January 1, 2003, p. C10.
Times (London, England), January 1, 2003.
Washington Post, January 5, 2003, p. C10.